Homicide suspect found dead

Manager: Cops say body was Peterson's

Montrose police work the scene Wednesday evening at the Sunshine Peak Apartment complex in Montrose.

Montrose police and sheriff’s deputies converge on the Sunshine Peak Apartments in Montrose. The man described as a “person of interest” in the deaths of a Montrose couple killed himself as officers arrived at the complex Wednesday night, police said.

MONTROSE — The Montrose Police Department said it found a homicide suspect dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head in an apartment complex Wednesday night.

Sunshine Peak Apartments manager Lodi Brriley said police confirmed to her it was 20-year-old Ryan Craig Peterson, a man wanted for questioning in the deaths of Montrose residents Kama Sanburg and Scott Clarke earlier this week.

Montrose Police Cmdr. Gene Lillard said he could not give the age or name of the man who died Wednesday, but he said the man was a “homicide suspect from earlier this week.”

According to Lillard, officers did not fire any shots in the incident, and officers never heard the shot that killed the man who was in Apartment 202.

Lillard added the man had four warrants out for his arrest out of Montrose and said his name would be released after the Montrose County Coroner’s Office and Colorado Bureau of Investigation had a chance to confirm his identity.

“SWAT was deployed at around 5 o’clock, and we proceeded to make contact with him by throw-phone,” Lillard said.

A throw-phone, according to Lillard, is a device that can be tossed through a window, connecting officers with the suspect. Police never made actual contact with the man in the apartment, Lillard said.

Officers arrived at the apartment complex at around 3 p.m. after receiving information that a man they were seeking was inside Building N, Apartment 202 of Sunshine Peak Apartments.

The building was evacuated for public safety, Lillard said.

The operation was a joint effort of the Police Department and Montrose County Sheriff’s Department, Lillard said.

Lillard said the SWAT team used gas and step-up negotiation efforts to reach the man, and when SWAT members entered the apartment, he was dead.

A pair of residents living next door said some of the gas got into their apartment, and they needed to spend the night somewhere else.

Peterson was listed as a person of interest Monday after Clarke’s 15-year-old son found Clarke and Sanburg dead in their home at 16378 6030 Road at 7:58 a.m. Monday.

Montrose County Sheriff Rick Dunlap said Peterson, 20, was believed to have been at the residence the day or night of the deaths and was thought to still be in the Montrose area.

Peterson has four outstanding warrants for his arrest: one apiece for failure to appear in court on a traffic offense, failure to comply with probation, trespass of an auto with the intent to commit a felony, and driving under restraint.

The trespass charge was from a June 2009 incident in which Peterson allegedly was caught trying to steal objects from cars in the Glens subdivision in Montrose.

When Peterson was arrested by the Sheriff’s Department in December on suspicion of DUI, Peterson’s address was listed in an arrest affidavit as 16378 6030 Road, the same residence as Sanburg and Clarke.

A motion to reduce his bond in that case said Peterson would be staying at the 6030 Road residence with Sanburg and Clarke. That motion read, “Since Mr. Peterson’s family moved out of state, they have acted as stepfamily for him here in Montrose. They are longtime friends of both Mr. Peterson and his family.”

Peterson was arrested a second time in December, this time by the Colorado State Patrol, for careless driving and driving under the influence of drugs, particularly marijuana.


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